For deal junkies, the next 5-10 years should be quite
interesting in the life sciences/health care industry. We have
already seen large pharmaceutical company consolidations, financial
buyers investing in health care institutions and partnerships
between payors and providers. And much of this before the Supreme
Court decided that health care reform is here to stay.
What is driving this? Need, opportunity, cash and innovation.
Pharmaceutical company brand drugs are losing their patent
protection, the cost/risk of developing new drugs is enormous,
heath care costs need to be controlled, people are living longer,
health care reform is triggering new behaviors and strategies and,
despite the difficult financial times, there is much cash available
for investment. Also, much of the broader life sciences/health care
industry has been slow in technology adoption, while technology and
social media continues advancing, being available to a broader
segment of the population.
Every time we meet with private equity firms, they are
enthusiastic when we talk about our health care practice and the
opportunities we see for the various players in the industry we
represent. Financial investors love dynamic industries where
experience in driving change can accelerate growth and value
– that is exactly where the life sciences/health care
industry is today. Strategic players need to expand their offerings
and opportunities – that is why you see many
pharmaceutical companies buying device companies, service companies
and technology companies – they want to be become a
broader health care company.
So, as a transactional lawyer in the life sciences/health care
industry, I am excited about the future, despite the rather
lethargic broader economy. But time will tell how quickly people
move, how resourceful people are and what roadblocks our elected
officials and bureaucrats put in our way. I am hoping for the best
for all of us.
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